Herts Police departments still set for G4S takeover

WORK is to continue on outsourcing police services in three counties including Herts to shamed security company G4S.

Despite the recent Olympic Games shambles which saw G4S unable to provide the security it had promised, Herts, Beds and Cambs Police have decided to continue work on a full outsourcing business case for policing functions.

The decision has been criticised by the opposition Lib Dem group on the county council who are warning that it will become a key issue when police commissioner elections take place in November.

The three police authorities were proposing to outsource management of 10 departments to G4S to help tackle a �73-million shortfall in government funding. They include legal, ICT and finance.

A joint working group decided last month to continue working on the business case after receiving reassurances from G4S that the company could up their game and meet requirements.

Herts Police Unison has joined forces with colleagues in Beds and Cambs in opposing the outsourcing proposal, pointing out that Herts is in the top five performing forces in the country.

They are concerned that a move to privatise will lead to a huge reduction in service to the public in the county.

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Steph Raddings, chair of Herts Police Unison, said: “How many mistakes do G4S need to make before alarm bells start ringing? Any bidder for a contract will make reassurances, especially when they have just made such huge public losses.”

Unison members in all three counties are calling for full public consultation before any decision is made. They argue that a better option would be to keep services in house with a private company used only for the implementation of a single IT system.

Unison’s concerns have been echoed by the county council’s Lib Dem Group. Their police spokesperson, Cllr Chris White, said this week: “The astonishing news that Herts, Beds and Cambridgeshire constabularies will be pressing ahead with this privatisation is likely to lead to a collapse in public confidence in policing in the three counties.”

He added: “Even before the Olympics fiasco, the record of G4S was questionable.

“Policing is a public sector service and should not normally be handed over to private companies – especially private companies which are known not to deliver.

“I don’t want to see the army being called in to Hertfordshire to perform basic policing.”

Unison has launched an e-petition calling for an end to the outsourcing plans and consultation with the public. It is available at www.petitionbuzz/petitions/hertspoliceunison